One month on, no sight of Amritpal except in CCTV footage
Chandigarh, Apr. 20 (PTI) A month after the Punjab Police launched a crackdown after his supporters laid siege to the Ajnala police station to free an arrested associate, radical preacher Amritpal Singh remains elusive.
His wife Kirandeep Kaur was stopped by immigration officials at the Amritsar airport when she tried to board a flight to London on Thursday. Amritpal got married to Kaur from England in February this year.
The crackdown on Amritpal began on March 18 and members of his organization ‘Waris Punjab De’ escaped the police net twice – first on March 18 when they switched vehicles in Jalandhar district and then on March 28 when they returned in Hoshiarpur. Punjab with his key ally Babalpreet Singh.
Papalpreet, believed to be Amritpal’s mentor and allegedly in touch with Pakistan’s ISI, has been arrested.
A number of cases have been registered against the Khalistan sympathizer and his associates for promoting harmony, attempted murder, assault on police officers and obstructing the statutory duty of government servants. Despite several CCTV footages and photographs being found in altered state at various places including Patiala, Kurukshetra and Delhi, the radical preacher continued to deceive the police.
While on the run, two videos and an audio clip of Amritpal surfaced on social media. In one of his two videos released on March 30, Amritpal said he was not a fugitive and would appear soon.
The pro-Khalistan preacher had said he was not like those fleeing the country.
There were rumors that Amritpal might surrender to Baisakhi at Takht Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda, but that did not happen.
Tight security arrangements during the Baisakhi festival at Talwandi Sabo, however, earned the wrath of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh , who accused the Punjab government of trying to create panic. The police said that security has been deployed for the convenience and safety of the devotees.
The Jathedar of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, asked the fugitive preacher to surrender to the police and cooperate with the investigation. But the appeal fell on deaf ears.
Police continued to search for his possible hideouts in Haryana’s Sirsa a few days ago. Earlier, searches were also conducted in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Recently, the Punjab Police put up posters of Amritpal at railway stations in Badala and Amritsar, announcing that a suitable reward would be offered to those who could provide credible information about his whereabouts.
On April 15, police arrested Amritpal’s close aide Joga Singh from Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib. According to them, Joga Singh was in direct contact with Amritpal and arranged accommodation and vehicles for him in Philipit, Uttar Pradesh.
It was Joga Singh who brought Amritpal and his assistant Pappalpreet back to Punjab on 28 March.
Nine of Amritpal’s aides – Daljit Singh Kalsi, Papalpreet Singh, Kulwant Singh Dhaliwal, Varinder Singh Johal, Gurmeet Singh Bukkanwala, Harjit Singh, Bhagwant Singh, Basant Singh and Gurinderpal Singh Aujla- are lodged in Dibrugarh jail in Assam. National Security Act.
Ahead of Baisakhi, Punjab Police Chief Gaurav Yadav had said that those wanted by the law should submit to the process of law.
Amid reports that Amritpal may have taken shelter in places of worship, a top police official had said that places of worship should not be misused.
29-year-old Amritpal Singh was appointed as the president of ‘Waris Punjab De’, an organization founded by actor-activist Deep Sidhu in February last year. PTI CHS VSD NSD NSD